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Meet Dr. Kate Cummins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Kate Cummins.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I went to graduate school in Chicago, then did a yearlong residency in Florida. After getting matched for a two-year fellowship in neuropsychology and specializing in brain injury, I moved to Los Angeles. I wanted to continue working with brain injury patients in the hospital setting after getting licensed, but also wanted to open my own private practice. Most psychologists can’t afford to start a private practice after school because of the overhead costs and debt they accrue during school.

However, I wanted to own my own business so that I could see the type of clients I wanted to see, and really cultivate something that was my own and unique in the field. I’ve had my private practice up and running for two years, and see clients for a variety of reasons. I do clinical work with symptoms like depression, anxiety, and grief and loss, but I also work with people to cope and navigate through life’s challenges like relationship issues, finding balance, getting more out of life, and anything that life throws someone’s way. People tend to see themselves in black and white, with a linear path, and it only takes a few years of living to recognize that most of life is gray. It’s hard for a lot of people to come to acceptance, let go of expectations of the future, and move forward with finding happiness and balance, so the work that I do with my clients mostly revolves around exactly that.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Success is measured by the way a person handles challenges, not the smoothness of the road that we are given. Starting a private practice and my own business has not been an easy road by any means, but I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have mentors, other doctors, and my clients believing in me along the way. I’ve never had a patient leave treatment or life coaching for any reason other than moving or feeling like they can manage stressors alone. This is how I measure success of the challenges in starting a business: the progress of my patient’s lives and the happiness that they achieve. I have proud momma moments almost every day when a client comes in and is able to tell me that they’ve seen a change in the way they love themselves or the way they treat others. It’s a really special and sacred space when my client’s trust me enough to be authentic and vulnerable in all of their weaknesses, only to recognize that I see all the good and beauty, and to watch them grow in their journeys of life.

Please tell us about your business.
I sort of see my private practice as doing life with my clients. We process challenges, navigate through problems to come up with solutions, set up boundaries to create strength, and readjust when things get hard. I see people of all ages, from teenagers to older adults. I have successful doctors and attorneys, people in the Hollywood industry and celebrities, and I also work with teens and college students to figure out the next steps. I have clients who are dealing with infertility, loss of a parent at a young age, trying to learn social skills or get better at activating their needs in the workplace. I also have athletes who are trying to work on performance enhancement in their sport or learn how to ease the anxiety on the court or field. I like keeping a diverse population of people in my private practice because life is diverse. My clients email or text me when things go well in their lives. I think this sets me apart from other clinicians, because I believe that treatment and work in the mental health field should go beyond the boundaries of a 50-minute session, one day a week. I want my clients to know that I am here for them whenever life gets hard. I also have privileges at Providence Little Company of Mary and work in the acute rehabilitation setting with brain injury patients while they are readjusting to life after major physical changes. I have a private practice in San Francisco as well, and work there at the end of each week to help with the same life issues as my LA practice. I’m a contributor and writer for LIVESTRONG.COM and Bustle, Brit+Co, and other news sources to help bring the practice of mental health into the community and to help people understand it a bit more.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Nothing. We can never start over, we can just adjust and change as needed. Every client that comes through my private practice doors was meant to see me, for five sessions or indefinitely. I wouldn’t change any of the work I’ve done or the career path I chose. Honestly, this career chose me, so I just do my best to be the best clinician I can be for my clients.

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